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pontoontodd last won the day on September 5 2019

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About pontoontodd

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    1000+ Super USER!

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Loves Park, IL
  • Referral
    search engine, lifted subarus and other mods
  • Biography
    Mechanical engineer, off road racer, trail ride and pre run with Subarus.
  • Vehicles
    1999 Legacy Outback, 1996 Impreza

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  1. Wife and I drove to California a month ago in the 99 Outback. On the way we drove off pavement from Phoenix almost to Yuma. Started by driving to some petroglyphs just north of the highway. There is a large group of them that's pretty impressive and a large campground. Nothing else too interesting but there was a long dirt/gravel road that follows a railroad with various side trails off of it. Drove by an irrigation canal on the way back down to 8. Various flowers and cacti were in bloom. Drove by Plaster City but didn't check it out, also drove through the south end of Imperial Sand Dunes. They are enormous, it would be cool to explore that sometime. We spent a few days dealing with family business. One morning we went to Corral Canyon OHV area near the house we stayed at. We basically drove a big loop on the main trails which took an hour or two. Some jumps but not great. The main trails we were on were not difficult but there were a few side trails that looked more challenging. Some cool mountain views. Got off pavement a few other times for short distances, car really soaks up small whoops well at 40-50mph now. Wednesday while looking for a place to hike we went to McCain valley. There were all kinds of side trails, the few I tried were fairly short, but there was also an ORV area and another section of trails we didn't explore at all. The section we did went to an awesome overlook of the impossible railroad and Anza Borrego. The main trail was badly washed out, first gear most of the way. The other trails were just generally rocky. At least one of the side trails had a long steep climb I didn't attempt. I think it was around this time I started noticing a ticking noise, eventually I realized it was only in first gear and tried to use first as little as possible the rest of the trip. A couple days later my nephew and I returned to McCain valley, showed him the overlook, we went to the small mine/cave. He found a scorpion, I think the only one I've ever seen in the wild. We hiked in Morena lake park and along the lake. We saw a lot of coots, a heron and some large lizards sunning on rocks. We hiked to Warlock Mine. It was a long hike but with cool mountain views. Most of it is on an old toll road that is hard to imagine people paying money to drive on. We saw a few different cars, most of them fairly new, that had rolled down the hill leaving a trail of parts behind them. We went to Anza Borrego, it's the biggest state park in CA with 500 miles of dirt roads. Near Borrego Springs are many large metal animal sculptures you can drive around. We drove down Coyote Canyon looking for a place to hike. It started out smooth and got gradually rougher. Did a couple shallow rocky stream crossings. Eventually got to a spot where the trail became a long uphill rocky climb and turned around to park at the closest trail head. Hike there was cool. Saw a lot of tiny tadpoles in the stream. Eventually hiked to an oasis of sorts, a good sized valley full of tall brush. The trail became gradually more overgrown and harder to follow and there were signs the gates closed at 5PM so we hiked back out. Sort of inside Anza Borrego is Ocotillo Wells OHV area. If I understand correctly, at least half of it is open to riding anywhere, the outer sections you have to stay on established trails. This seemed like the most Subaru friendly place we went. Most of the trails followed washes and were fairly smooth. None as soft as the ones in NV/UT last fall. A few sections with winding banked turns but poor visibility. No big climbs we saw. There are some interesting geological formations to see, a small dune area, etc. We drove to pumpkin patch, it was all we had time for before it got dark. Stunt area right next to it. Took a side trail to a palm oasis. We camped at one of the campgrounds (quite a few bathrooms throughout the park). All night and into the next morning it rained. Had no problem getting out but didn't want to risk driving in a bunch of river washes in the rain by ourselves. I believe this is the Gila river, it looked like they had graded large portions of the riverbed. The next morning we drove along the Colorado river as the maps indicated some wildlife refuges. One of them was quite muddy, I eventually decided to turn around rather than get stuck. Not extremely soft mud but we were sliding all over the place even on mud tires. We found some long dirt/gravel roads that go right along the Colorado river which was kind of interesting, at least a few camping areas. The last place we were really off pavement was Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. Just looking for a place to hike on the way back but you would want some kind of AWD vehicle with decent ground clearance and good tires just to drive through the main road we took. It had many jumps but was also quite rocky so I didn't really get any air off of them. Various side trails too. There was a sign indicating a rock hounding area so we spent a couple hours hiking there and picked up some rocks to take home. Camped at Homolovi Ruins near Winslow AZ on the way home. They have a bathroom with running water and showers. When I started the car in the morning it cranked for a while before it started and once running would occasionally die. It seemed like the ECU was cutting out intermittently. Seemed like the brown six pin ignition relay was clicking on and off. I drove to Winslow and none of the parts stores in town had one so I hotwired it. I could still shut it off with the key and just pulled the jumper wires out the next night so the battery wouldn't die. The next day the HVAC blower stopped working. It seemed like at highway speeds it would increase the flow of air if it was on but at low speeds it didn't do anything. After we got home I unplugged it and it's getting 12V. Plugged another one into the connector and it spins fast, so probably the blower itself it stuck or dead. Only used about two quarts of engine oil and no other fluids in about 5000 miles. After we got home I drained the trans fluid and found a gear tooth on the magnet. Decided to just go ahead with the 6MT/R180 swap. Trying to get a core/damaged 6MT to mock up the low range on and will just have to put that in sometime this summer when it's ready.
  2. Video from our trip out west last October: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2623JxZEjc
  3. We replaced the engine in B's Forester yesterday. His engine has been burning about a quart of oil per fifty miles, one cylinder has low compression, so he got one with just over 100k miles on it. We've also been planning on going through the dual range trans so we took both of them out. Weren't too surprised to see this, same problem we've had the last few times. Low range synchro is smashed to the gear. Fortunately not bad enough that it couldn't shift. Also look between the gear and the bearing and you can see a gap. The gear keeps pulling away from the bearing, we're guessing due to the helical cut of the gears. We noticed this the last time we had it apart. The last time I also noticed this snapring was popped out of the groove, at that time we just pressed it back flush and popped the snapring back in. This time I also noticed there is a counterbored washer under that snapring that hides another snapring that had also popped out of its groove. I don't know how stock this all is, you can also see a brass spacer between the bearing and shaft that is probably not stock. This 1.59:1 low is older and harder to get parts for than the more common dual ranges. We decided to replace the original snaprings (top) with these snaprings, I'd bought them to replace the snapring for the other side of the dual range gearing because that one was popping out of the groove too. Cut the grooves in the shaft deeper and wider, it was a little tough since it's hardened steel and the grooves are narrow but it should be serviceable. Bottom snapring hidden by washer, two heavy duty snaprings installed. Also it's been grinding going into first so I put in new synchro rings for first and second. The old ones still looked good, hopefully it will shift better for a while. He pulled the heads off the old engine and there's nothing obviously wrong. Bores look good, spins freely. We're guessing the rings on the one cylinder are stuck to the piston.
  4. Hopefully the last rust repair on the 99 for a while. Driver's side rear strut tower / wheel well wasn't as bad as passenger side. The strut tower is still mostly intact but has been patched several times. The worst area was the rear portion of the wheel well. While cleaning this all out, we dug/vacuumed a large amount of mud out of the pocket just behind the wheelwell and found a few treasures. Cut out a portion of the wheelwell and some other rusty sheet metal. Cut and bent a piece to fit and welded it in and painted it. It's hard to see in these pictures but we also fit a vertical piece that connects the top of the wheelwell to the strut tower mount. Wheelwell from the inside: Mainly cleaned and welded some other cracks, rust holes, and seams that were separating and painted everything. It's hard to tell from these pictures but many feet of seams were welded. This wheel arch was badly rotted out so I cut out all of that. Added a patch to create a uniform arch. While we're doing all this we're also adding tire clearance to be safe. Also patched the area behind the wheel that is normally covered by the plastic bumper. Paint didn't turn out very well (you can't see how bad it is in this picture), so I'll probably end up respraying that sometime, but it looks far better than a month ago. Overall probably not as strong as the other side but it was holding as is and should be stronger now. Also those tube braces should help a lot. So I think the car will now be structurally sound enough for the V2R this year.
  5. I put a big centrifugal air filter out of a Chevy van on my 99. That's been in some door handle deep water. Just the stock airbox on my 2002. It's been through quite a bit of water but nothing super deep. What I've noticed is the EJs with the filter right by the throttle body swamp the most easily. I think by the time the water gets there the damage is done. The other EJs and the EZs with the filter out in front of the fender will stall out because they're soaked with water but (so far) we haven't hydrolocked an engine with that intake setup. Tell me about it. More to come soon. B thought we should beef up his rear trailing arm mount on the passenger side of his Forester. We did the usual anti crush tubes and plate on top. Welded some bolts on to replace the seat tube bracket and stud. The main concern was that it was splitting from the rocker. It really wasn't too bad and it's not rusty but we figured it would be good to beef it up over the winter. The weld nuts for the trailing arm all stayed in place but the one for the subframe had come loose and that part of the sheet metal was pulled out a little bit so we also welded a plate over it. Bolts have enough thread to screw them in from the top and then just put nuts on the bottom. They're way up out of the way so we don't have to worry about them getting smashed or bent.
  6. My 99 has a full skidplate under the engine that keeps it fairly dry. It occasionally runs rough after driving in a lot of standing water. My 2002 just has a skid under the oil pan though and I haven't had a problem with it running rough in wet conditions. Yours is newer though. Back when my 99 had the EJ25 I sealed the ignition wires going to the sparkplugs with grease and that seemed to help when driving through a lot of water. I posted about it way back on this thread. Not sure if that would help the EZ30. One thing I did on my 99 that seemed to help was to zip tie the coil pack wires on. If you pre bend them into squares it's pretty easy to do with the engine in the car. I think I posted about that on this thread too.
  7. Latest project was reinforcing the rear part of the 99 Outback. Made braces for each side that tied together the (rarely used) spare strut mounts, strut towers, trailing arm bracket, and bottom of cage/jack. We gusseted the strut top mounts to the tube (see below). They don't restrict access to the back seat area much and are removable. Something like this but going back and down to the rear bumper bolts would be a good reinforcement for a car that's getting rusty and/or doesn't have a cage. Could add a spare tire mount to one or both sides too. Welded and painted. At the same time B pulled out the interior in the left rear corner so we could take a closer look at that strut tower/wheel well. The rear portion is worse than the right side but the front portion is fairly intact. Definitely plan on refabbing the rear portion of the wheel well but still thinking about how far I want to go. It appears the floor near the LR wheel well is pushed up some, maybe 1/2", not sure if or how we can reverse that.
  8. This is all we're up to now. Bracket we made that screws to the sides of the radio to mount a tablet and pushbuttons for the brakes. It's a compromise as always, I don't use the radio controls much. You can still get to the HVAC and radio controls as this sticks out a few inches. Didn't mount the tablet high like my 99 since the vents are higher. I also drive it on the street with the airbag fuse in so shouldn't put a tablet in front of that. The rigid tablet mount is much better than the RAM mounts. Those basically work but it moves around too much to use while driving sometimes and is more difficult to install and remove the tablet. The buttons are set up so if you push any combination of them and hit the brake pedal, only those brakes will be applied. We tested on snow recently and the left front and right front definitely just lock up those corners, the rears don't really. Not sure if that is related to the auto trans center diff deal or the rear brakes being smaller or something else.
  9. In my 2002 LL Bean Outback we just unplugged that security module next to the radio. Starts and runs fine, power locks work, alarm never goes off. Maybe with other alarms some jumper wiring is required but not with this one.
  10. In case anyone else out there has this question, my friends did get one of my key fobs to work with the car. More importantly, one of my other friends found the security black box on the right side of the radio when we were doing some other wiring. We unplugged the security box thing and I can now use the power lock switches on the inside of the doors and the alarm never goes off.
  11. pontoontodd

    does lift and no sway bar damaging steering rack ?

    That's too bad. I found when my Outback was lifted and had no swaybars it would still corner well with mud tires. In fact I usually still drove it faster than 99% of the other cars on winding roads. If you're talking about bottoming out the floor of the car on the ground, don't worry about it. If you're talking about bottoming out the suspension, lifting it won't help that (unless you use lift springs instead of spacers). Removing the swaybars will make it even easier for one wheel to bottom out, so you could try putting them back on. If you are still willing to give it a try I would try AGX struts. They have more damping than stock so it should be more stable on winding paved roads and harder to bottom out on rough roads and they're not extremely expensive. Taller tires will give you more clearance and more sidewall to make the car bottom out on the ground and at the suspension less often.
  12. No, we're not welding on Fox shocks. We use a lot of Fox parts but many of the parts are custom machined and fabricated. If you start here you can see how they're put together: https://www.ultimatesubaru.org/forum/topic/144953-long-travel-outbacks-or-making-subarus-faster-and-more-reliable-offroad/?page=25&tab=comments#comment-1355228 If you're using a-arm suspension just use threaded body coilover shocks - Fox, King, etc. Depending on what you're doing with it I would look into some of the position sensitive single shock options - internal bypass (IBP) or coilpass (bypass tubes above coil springs). Otherwise most offroad racers run two shocks per corner, one is basically just a coil carrier with a little damping and the other has external bypass tubes.
  13. Yes, but he wasn't hitting any sweet jumps or whoops, had to go slower on the rough trails than we did, and he still bent a strut. Of course stock Subarus are fun, they're just more fun when you can hit jumps, go faster, and not have to worry about bending struts. He's put AGX struts on it since then so we're curious to see how those ride and hold up.
  14. Video from our trip to the UP in August: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_GPBHOLdIE
  15. Replaced the trans mount, both the used ones I'd had when I put it in were split like this: That long stud keeps it from moving too far but the less engine and trans movement the better.